Planning, Training, and Implementation
A critical first step to any data collection design process is to convene a task force composed of representatives from law enforcement, the community, and citizen groups. A local task force is best able to recognize the specific needs of community members and police within a particular jurisdiction. At the same time, however, working with a task force can be extremely difficult, as each of the stakeholders has a different perspective on the issues and problems. Although experiences with task forces can be fustrating, utilizing a task force model appears to be the best way to ensure that voices from the entire community are heard and are invested in the data collection effort.
Local jurisdictions should also develop a relationship with an academic or research partner to best ensure a sound analysis and interpretation of the data collection results. During the data collection design phase, local jurisdictions should consider who is going to analyze the stop-and-search data. When possible the local jurisdiction should include members of the analysis team as part of the data collection design process and local task force. Knowing how the analysis will be conducted and what is needed for analysis is a critical step for the research partner.
The following articles and reports describe how the use of task forces and partnerships can benefit the data collection process, and explain ways to surmount some challenges in community outreach.